At a time when South Africa commemorates the thousands of women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 against apartheid and its racist and sexist repression of freedoms, it is with extreme concern that Sonke Gender Justice has learnt of recent assaults allegedly committed by Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana.
Over the weekend, Manana and his friends reportedly became aggressive and ultimately violent against three women they were in disagreement with, in a bar in Johannesburg. Pictures of Mandisa Duma, one of the women allegedly attacked, have circulated widely on social media. She is seen to have a black eye, swollen face, scraped knees and a bruised neck. Deputy Minister Manana is also said to have slapped Duma’s cousin across the face as she exited the bar. One of the women was allegedly assaulted for noting the Deputy Minister was gay. Witnesses noted that the management of the bar – including the bar’s security – did nothing to intervene.
It is an affront to South Africa that one of the very individuals elected to be a leader in this democracy could perpetuate such violence, and in particular, against women. It is significant that this incident happened during the first week of Women’s Month. August is traditionally a time of contemplation of the many injustices women face in our society, and in particular gender-based violence. Sonke strongly condemns these brutal acts – particularly at a time when civil society has been raising their voices against gender-based violence and advocating for a national strategic plan from government.
“The brute thuggery of Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana, and his friends demonstrate the immense challenge we face as a country in relation to violence against women. These perpetrators must be arrested immediately and the ANC must remove the deputy minister from his position now! The owners of the club where this happened must be held accountable as well. The incident happened at their establishment and shamefully, they did nothing,” said Sonke’s Acting Co-Executive Director, Bafana Khumalo.
Sonke applauds the actions of by-standers who tried to stop the assaults, and who bravely volunteered as witnesses.
This incident has put into question government’s commitment to dealing with violence against women.
Sonke demands that:
- The ANC suspend Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana with immediate effect while the investigation into his assault case is underway;
- The police speedily investigate the case of assault and arrest those responsible; and
- The owners of Cubana in Cedar Square take responsibility for the restaurant’s inaction when witnessing violence against women.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Bafana Khumalo, Acting Co-Executive Director, Sonke Gender Justice, firstname.lastname@example.org, 082 578 4479
Marike Keller, Policy Development & Advocacy Unit Co-ordinator, Sonke Gender Justice, email@example.com, 083 259 6573